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Is Theo Walcott ruining Arsenal's season?

Despite being productive on the pitch, off it - Walcott is overshadowing what needs to be done.

Arsenal are performing far below expectation this season. Yes there are the occasional day where it all comes together - against Newcastle was one, but the draw away to Southampton summed up their campaign so far.

And here we are in January, where the club need to be snapping up players to improve their team, and they are busy trying to hang onto Theo Walcott - A player who has been woefully inconsistent in his six years plus at the club so far.

This is a player who turned in one of the most abject displays seen in an Arsenal shirt at the San Siro last season, and one who was being booed by a minority of support the following home game against Spurs before he scored twice to start to win fans back around. Since then he has been remarkably consistent, but the way he has held Arsenal hanging is befitting a player who has already proved himself. He hasn't.

Yes he is performing well in the centre at present, but let's not pretend he is Thierry Henry, he likely never will be, he is an excellent player, but the way he has held the club to ransom over the past few months to get the contract he wants has been ridiculous; it should not have dragged on this long.

Arsenal too must take their share of the blame, they should have met him halfway earlier, but if Walcott really wanted to stay at Arsenal he should have made it easier for them; after all the club managed to sign five of his British teammates to new deals quickly enough.

So instead of concentrating on signing the new players they desperately need to climb up the table, Walcott has engineered a situation where Arsenal are fighting just to stand still.

Already Arsenal have missed out on Demba Ba; Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is no longer an option, and Fernando Llorente appears to be heading to Juventus. 

The trio are all players it appeared at one stage were very possible transfer targets for Arsenal, but instead of being proactive in the market and pushing ahead, their time is being spent on Walcott.

Even a deal like David Villa could be possible if the Gunners were able to put all their efforts and resources into it, but their attentions are being diverted elsewhere.

Arsene Wenger admitted as much yesterday, when he said re-signing the Englishman to a new deal was the club's priority, and no new players would come in until the situation is resolved.

So had this situation been resolved in the Autumn, Arsenal would have been able to focus on new faces in the transfer window, described by many as one of the most important in their recent history given the very real chance of the Gunners missing out on the top four.

If Walcott does re-sign, by time Arsenal go looking for other transfer targets, the best available ones - of which there are very limited in January - may all have been snapped up, and the club's chances of making the improvements they need to secure the best possible league position they can may slip by.

Re-signing the winger is the most important deal Arsenal will probably make this January, but it shouldn't even have come to this.

Do you feel the same way? Has the way the Walcott situation has dragged on affected the club's chances of moving forward?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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